The increasing digitization of medieval and early modern archives provides a wealth of materials for teaching with primary sources beyond printed textbooks. The growth of online manuscripts is especially a boon for presenting primary sources in facsimiles of their original forms for History of the English Language courses. While a general textbook works to give students a sense of the overall scope of each period and the developments in the language—for this iteration of the course, I used the second edition of The English Language: A Historical Introduction, by Charles Barber, Joan C. Beal, and Philip A. Shaw—primary materials allow for examination of particulars. Working with primary texts like this leads to sustained, critical discussion about details of abstract concepts like Grimm’s and Verner’s Laws, dialects, the inflectional systems of Old and Middle English, multilingualism, and the linguistic implications of medieval handwritten orthography and modern printed texts.
Hawk, Brandon W., "Teaching History of the English Language with the Blickling Homilies" (2015). Faculty Publications. 420.